By Rich Palzewic
Name: Nicole Berna
Position: Third base
Nicole Berna recently completed her softball career at Pulaski High School. Berna was named honorable mention in the Fox River Classic Conference and was picked to play in the WFSCA All-Star game in June.
Did you ever do any other sports at Pulaski?
“During my sophomore year and half of my junior year, I swam. My friend and I did it for fun.”
How about a sport you wish you had tried?
“Volleyball. I did cross country throughout my middle school careerand was going to do it my freshman year, but then on Labor Day weekend, I fractured my ankle.”
Pulaski softball has a very high reputation.
“It does. The coaches are 100% committed to their players making them better. Everyone gets along, and there is a good bond – the coaches have been together for so long. Everything is communicated well, and there is a lot of talent.”
What’s it like playing for head coach Billi Vertz?
“She is calm but competitive. She wants us to do well, but in some situations, she knows she has to stay calm otherwise the job won’t get done.”
What has Pulaski softball taught you?
“It’s taught me a lot about mentality. You have to have a short memory in softball and flush the past – you have to stay in the moment. If you’re still thinking about the error you made, that’s going to keep messing you up. You’re always going to have setbacks, but you have to bounce back. Also, how to be a team player and leader. I lead more by action. It’s also taught me time management with schoolwork.”
Is there another position you wish you had tried?
“I played shortstop a little my junior year, but I didn’t miss that. I’ve always played third since I was little. I am not good in the outfield – I couldn’t read a ball to save my life.”
It’s intense when two good pitchers are battling it out on the mound.
“During those games, you know both pitchers are going to pitch strikes, but you also know both teams are going to hit. When you’re in the field, your belly is turning. You have to want it.”
What’s your most embarrassing softball moment?
“During my junior year, I was running to third base during a cold game. I slid and ripped a hole in my pants. The trainer had to wrap it up – it looked like I had a harness on.”
How about a most memorable moment?
“This season when we beat Bay Port for the regional final. It was close the whole game, so it was exciting to celebrate the win with the whole team. Bay Port is our biggest rival.”
Would you rather hit a grand slam in a loss or go 0-for-3 at the plate but save the game with a great defensive play?
“Winning is always better, so I’d rather go 0-for-3 at the plate but save the game with a great defensive play.”
What are your future plans?
“I’ll be going to UW-Green Bay and majoring in business administration and finance. I can see myself becoming a financial manager and taking over a company’s finances.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“I hope to be done with school and have a good job. I’ll probably be living in the area – all my family is from around here. Coaching softball to younger kids would be fun, too.”
What’s one of your favorite places you’ve visited?
“Arizona. We did a lot of hiking, and I like the outdoors.”
How about four places you’d like to visit?
“Hawaii, Colorado, Peru and New Zealand.”
The beach or the mountains?
Live in a treehouse or a tiny house?
“A tiny house.”